For those of you that surf the ‘net often, you might be noticing audio clips that are popping up. Some will start playing as soon as you enter a site, and others you are beckoned to click “play” to hear their message.
Adding an audio clip to your website gives a personal touch where reading text is hard to portray. It puts a voice to you representing your product or service and can make a big effect on how you are perceived. It assists your website visitors so they can gain a better understanding of what you offer – just as a face-to-face meeting would – having an audio clip helps your web audience build that important relationship with you.
Audio also enhances your professional presentation – in most circumstances. In my opinion, having an audio clip (whether it is music or a voice-over) automatically play when a web page is opened is not a good idea. It is forcing the visitor to listen to something they may not have cared to hear and more importantly, it interferes with the music or radio program they are playing while surfing. It is best to provide an invitation to listen to the audio clip when it is appropriate to introduce it in your website content. This way, you are making your visitors feel comfortable and you appear professional and trustworthy at the same time.
From a marketing perspective, audio can act as an “attention grabber”. You have the ability to guide your website visitor through your site and talk about the product or service you have to offer. The audio clip can also be a powerful motivator to explore and discover your site.
There are several ways to utilize audio on your website:
*Personal Messages: Add a personal greeting by means of introducing yourself, your products or your services. This is a quick way to capture their attention as opposed to counting on them to read all of the text you have provided. In fact, simply do that – read what you already have written on your site! This will give your visitors a lasting impression once they hear your voice.
*Promotional Message: Promote a sale, special give-away, or announce a brand new product you want to let everyone know about. Your passionate message speaking about how much you truly believe in your product or service will be sure to catch people’s interest.
*Audio Testimonials: Ask your clients to record a quick sound byte for you and post this audio message, along with their name and website address (or contact information) and it becomes a powerful way to tell others of your credibility. Your visitors will be more apt to believe the testimonial if it’s attached with a live voice of your client. Your client also wins by giving them some extra exposure of their business.
*Audio Instructions: If you offer a product that needs some instruction, provide an audio clip that explains the steps involved. You can accompany it with a picture of what you’re talking about. Seeing and hearing how something works is very powerful and will give people the confidence they need to purchase what you have to offer.
* Audio Invitation: If you have a free e-newsletter, it’s important to try and get as many people to sign up for it as possible – they are your target market just waiting to hear more from you! By using an audio message inviting people to sign and explain what they will get for their efforts (answering the “what’s in it for me” question), can be very effective. Be sure to mention that you are giving away a free item to anyone signing up – such as a free article, e-book, or piece of artwork etc – people love receiving something free!
How to Put Audio on Your Site
Digital audio can come in many different formats, but the most common and safe format to use is MP3. There are several ways to going about creating these MP3 files – some more expensive than others. I’ll detail a few here:
*Recording the audio on your home PC: There are lots of audio recording software available for you to install and start recording your message. All you need is a good quality computer microphone, a quiet room and you’re good to go. Here are a couple of software suggestions:
– Audacity is a free, open source audio software program you download and install yourself.
– Web Audio Plus 1.0 is another free software program. I found instructions to use it here: How to put audio on your website
– Sony Sound Forge is a software package that you purchase. Sony Sound Forge enables you to create CD tracks and web audio files. You can even capture audio from an analog source and digitize it onto CD’s and MP3’s.
– Internet Audio-Video. These guys offer several different pieces of software in one bundle – which includes creating your own video as well. But be careful making your own video clips, if not done professionally, they could work against you. I’ll be talking more about video next month.
* Using an on-line service:
– BYOAudio is an audio recording service where you can use your computer microphone or call in via the telephone. The MP3 sound clip is produced for you. They have a sale on right now for a 30-day trial for $1 and after that, it costs $19.95 a month.
– Audio Generator is also a monthly fee-based audio generating service. Beware – you have to sign up to get any information on them and then it is a very intense marketing campaign you need to endure. I was turned off right away – but that’s just me.
* Hiring a Professional: With this option, you hire a local audio recording company and go into their studio where they record your voice-over, do edits to make it sound professional and perfect, add some background music and then your audio file is ready to be burned to CD or uploaded to your website.
As you can see, there are many options to consider on how to go about adding audio to your website; in my opinion, give the free open source software a try first and see how that works. If you find it’s too difficult to manage and you want an easier way, try the services offered. Once you have your audio clip created, simply contact me or your web developer to have it added to your site.
PS. The resources mentioned above are sites I have found in my Internet searches – I do not make any guarantees; I’m just sharing my research results and do not endorse any of them personally.
Susan Friesen, B.B.A.
eVision Media ~ Definitive eBusiness Solutions
About the Author: Susan is a professional website developer with over eight year’s experience in the industry. With a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, concentration in Computer Information Systems, she is able to provide a unique and caring service to her clients not only as a website designer, but also an eBusiness Advisor; assisting individuals, businesses and organizations establish and brand product or service effectively on the World Wide Web. Contact Susan today for your free consultation on building your website presence to the effective marketing tool is can be. email@example.com or visit http://www.evisionmedia.ca
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